SV: Non-Indic sustrate vocabulary
Lars Martin Fosse
lmfosse at online.no
Thu Mar 8 15:49:15 UTC 2001
JoatSimeon at aol.com [SMTP:JoatSimeon at aol.com] skrev 3. mars 2001 07:25:
> The basic problem is that we just don't have enough writing in the Indus
> Valley script to be able to being to understand it. Probably because
> most of their writing was on some perishable material -- ink on palm leaves,
> at a guess. Until and unless someone comes up with a store of fortuitously
> preserved material, equivalent to the Vindolandia wooden tablets, it's
> all wheel-spinning.
> It's a pity they didn't use clay, like the Mesopotamians.
How very true!
Those who are interested, might want to have a look at:
Gregory L. Possehl (1996). Indus Age. The Writing System. University of
Asko Parpola (1994). Deciphering the Indus script. Cambridge University
Possehl discusses a large number of attempts to solve the puzzle. Parpola's
book represents such an attempt.
There is at present no universally acknowledged solution to the problem,
and it may be argued that the problem is unsolvable and will remain so,
just as JoatSimeon suggests.
The problem of the Indus script is, however, closely connected to
ideological struggles related to Indian nationalism ("Hindutva"), and
several attempts have been made to interpret the Indus script language as
Sanskrit. A recent attempt was deconstructed by Prof. Witzel of Harvard
University and his collaborator Steve Farmer in the Indian journal
Frontline a few months ago. Still, the assertion that the language of the
Indus (Harappan) culture was Sanskrit, is frequently met in the Indian
press and also abroad. Such assertions should be regarded with scepticism.
Lars Martin Fosse
Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
Phone: +47 22 32 12 19
Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
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Email: lmfosse at online.no
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